Created in just 200 days, ByteDance realised they had a mega-hit on their hands once they attracted million members in less than a year – with over a billion impressions being provided every single day.
Precisely one year later in September 2017, ByteDance opened TikTok to the foreign market, where it continued to collect market share at unprecedented rate.
The Fear of Missing Out
Commonly shortened as FOMO – the fear of missing out is a strong instrument that has been one of the core causes of many of the biggest viral phenomena of the contemporary era.
Only the most committed of (complimentary usage intended!) geeky, libertarian, cryptography oriented computer users got in on the ground floor of Bitcoin – and understood it well enough to hold on to those coins they’d paid cents for when they soared up to a dollar.
The firm Tiny Moons chuckles at your doubtful posture. Their recent promotional TikTok barely made it over the five-second mark yet resulted in overnight sales rise of almost 700%.
That seems incredible, but this was just the start – the corporation played up the novelty of their product, the alleged ‘satisfaction factor’ of squishing and cutting into it and offered as little further signals as possible.
Appropriate royalty-free music is frequently considered as important for establishing a TikTok viral phenomenon, but not this time; within days, hashtags with over fifty million views were trending, including #littlemoons, driving the viral interest the brand desired.
Everyone who saw those hashtags wanted to know what they were missing out on …and there we have it.
They might not even have enjoyed it. You can be sure they’ve sold an awful lot of copies by now though.
What Was It About an Underlying Algorithm?
A research was undertaken in 2021 which entailed producing around 200 “people”, each of whom was allocated two or three random hobbies or interests, and a random “interest level” in each of them.
Such interests were not conveyed to TikTok in any manner other than by which videos each of these new accounts expressed interest in, as gauged by which videos they viewed, and how long they watched them for.
In most cases, it took less than two hours for the TikTok algorithm to estimate what films each of these fictitious people would watch for the longest.
Remember that this is TikTok’s key measure — they are seeking for user interaction, much like YouTube and Facebook.
The data was then projected into a graph, and the speed at which this proprietary algorithm narrowed down each person’s likes and dislikes was, in the words of one researcher “terrifying”.
So, if you aren’t part of a circle of friends with a high degree of TikTok penetration, you are going to discover something rather intriguing to speak about the next time you all meet up for a drink.
TikTok has a three-second rule!
If you are seeing your videos die out regularly very shortly after publishing them, you can be confident you are failing in this most essential of TikTok’s metrics.
As soon as you share a new video on TikTok, it will initially be shared with a varied pool of users ‘for you’ feeds – but only for a brief window of time.
If, within this short interval, you have a very high percentage of individuals swiping away, this is undesirable. Extremely terrible.
On the other side, if your video manages to pass the three-second limit and go on to score highly in TikTok’s secondary statistic – completion rate – it will continue to be promoted by the algorithm, showing in more and more ‘for you’ feeds, until finally the video gets viral.
While completion rate does not necessarily need visitors to watch the full video – it is probable that a fluctuating proportion is utilised based on a plethora of criteria – this might explain why certain artists, such as Little Moons (see our first point above) keep their films as short as humanly feasible.
Find a Niche, and Stay with It
When the length of your latest product is sixty seconds long, being typecast in the same manner that Hollywood performers often suffer is unlikely to give you a problem.
If you have successfully built your first viral hit, be shameless! Double down on the success you have just earned by becoming something of a “poster boy” (or lady) for that style of video.
If you don’t find a method to separate yourself from the crowd, you will soon find yourself losing your “poster boy” position to some other artist who has noticed the same trend that you have and discovered a better way to profit on it.
The “one hit wonder” model is alive and well in the 21st century, it appears, but side-stepping this issue is easier than you may believe.
Pick something you like and are excellent at – this makes it so, much simpler to tap into this sort of material in a large manner.
This is especially true if your viewpoint on the issue or style appears to resonate with the TikTok audience in a large manner.
In few seconds, two anonymous persons go from squabbling about a housing rental before one of them invokes the attorney general!